Sydney into W-League Grand Final
After an end-to-end first half finished goalless, Sydney's Jasmyne Spencer scored the only goal of the game in controversial circumstances.
Spencer who had been a constant threat in the first 45' - having one shot denied by the upright - was quickest to react in a goalmouth scramble, lashing a loose ball home on 61 minutes.
But United goalkeeper, Lydia Williams, looked to be fouled by Kyah Simon in the lead-up.
Canberra pushed everyone forward looking for the equaliser and Nickoletta Flannery came agonisingly close in the dying moments with a neat swivel and shot inside the box only to be blocked by a resilient defence.
Two-time W-League champions, Sydney, will now take on the winner of Monday's second semi-final between Premiers Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park from 4.30pm.
Sydney coach Dan Barrett said: “I thought it was a fantastic game, I thought both teams had opportunities to win the game and I’m just very grateful to be on the winning side today.
"Canberra gave us a great fight, we knew it would be that way, but we’re just happy to make the Grand Final.
"There seems to be a lot of talk about the goal, when you’re on the sideline things happen very quickly and I didn’t see it but you’ve still got to put them away and I’m grateful Jasmyne did.”
Sydney midfielder Teresa Polias said it was "extra special' to win in Canberra where the Sky Blues have struggled in recent seasons.
"We’ve just worked really hard this season and it’s nice that things have come together in the last few weeks," Polias said.
"It’s an amazing feeling to make the final. The last few weeks our confidence has been building so we’ll see who we end up playing tomorrow and then come Tuesday we’ll focus on the game.”
61’ SPENCER GOAL – A lofted ball into the box isn’t dealt with by United keeper Williams, who calls for a foul, as Jasmyne Spencer is first to the second ball to sweep home for the solitary goal of the match.
9’ SIMON SHOT – A square ball finds Simon in the area and the Westfield Matilda turns to create space before firing just wide of the far post.
12’ BRUSH HEADER – A Canberra corner is floated to the far post and it finds Ellie Brush leaping highest with her header producing a sharp save from Michelle Betos.
35’ BETOS SAVE – Ashleigh Sykes charges at the Sky Blues defence before firing a powerful at effort at goal, however Michelle Betos is equal to the effort with an acrobatic save to tip it over the bar.
36’ SPENCER SHOT – Nicola Bolger sends an inch perfect through ball to Spencer who charges onto it in the area however her shot flashes across the face of goal.
43’ SPENCER HITS THE POST – Jasmyne Spencer weaves her way into the area before cannoning a shot off the upright in the final chance of the half.
58’ KENNEDY FREE KICK SAVED – Alanna Kennedy curls a neat free kick up and over the wall forcing Williams into a diving save to tip the effort over the bar.
59’ BETOS SAVE – Michelle Betos is quick off her line to smother the danger as Canberra look to capitalise on a bouncing ball in the box.
81’ SYKES MISS – Canberra break and the cutback finds Sykes lurking near the penalty area, however the Canberra forward scuffs her effort and it’s saved.
87’ FLANNERY CHANCE – A corner isn’t properly cleared and the ball back into the Sky Blues area lands at Flannery two yards from goal, however Renee Rollason produces a timely intervention to deny.
90+1’ WILLIAMS SAVE – Sydney FC break two on one through Jasmyne Spencer and the American squares to Kyah Simon in the box, however the Westfield Matilda takes one too many touches as Williams saves from close range.
Canberra United 0
Sydney FC 1 (Jasmyne Spencer 62’)
McKellar Park, Canberra
Sunday 24 January 2016
Referee: Casey Reibelt
Canberra United: Lydia Williams (gk), Julia De Angelis, Kendall Fletcher, Jenna McCormick (Nickoletta Flannery 80’), Caitlin Munoz, Ellie Brush (c), Meg McLaughlin (Emma Kete 69’), Michelle Heyman, Nicole Begg, Ashleigh Sykes, Rebecca Kiting
Substitutes – Melissa Maizels (gk), Catherine Brown, Grace Gill
Cautions – Julia De Angelis 46’+, Lydia Williams 61’, Kendall Fletcher 78’
Sydney FC: Michelle Betos (gk), Liz Ralston, Jasmyne Spencer, Teresa Polias (c), Nicola Bolger (Olivia Price 93’), Princess Ibini (Sunny Franco 76’), Natalie Tobin (Renee Rollason 83’), Alanna Kennedy, Teigen Allen, Kyah Simon, Leena Khamis
Substitutes – Sham Khamis (gk),
Cautions – Alanna Kennedy 31’, Nicola Bolger 91’
Westfield W-League semi-final
Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Monday 25 January 2016
(Hyundai A-League double-header – Melbourne City v Wellington Phoenix)
Tickets from Ticketek
LIVE on Fox Sports/ABC TV